7 Video Game Spoilers that are Now Unavoidable

The worst part about a great plot twist is that spoilers for it are bound to precede the story it appears in for anyone that was late to the party.  Even if you’ve never seen a second of the films Psycho, Planet of the Apes, or The Sixth Sense, you probably already know all of their most famous surprises due to how ingrained they’ve become in the popular culture.  With video games often growing into franchises, spoilers are even harder to avoid as major twists of previous games can be played up in promotions for the newest one.  The following spoilers are almost unavoidable now due to how much they’ve been brought up since in their respective franchises.  If you follow games media even lightly, you already know all of these inside and out.  However, for the sake of those that have managed to avoid learning these twists early, I’ll just be listing the titles of the specific games being spoiled so you can skip any entries that you’re worried about.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Aerith

7. Final Fantasy VII

This one doesn’t exactly fit the theme of the article given that the Final Fantasy franchise tends to reboot its lore with each numbered entry, but its hard not to call it one of the most famous and unavoidable plot twists in gaming history.  Part way through the game, one of your party members, the kind-hearted Aerith, is fatally wounded by the villainous Sephiroth.  Despite countless rumors of a way to revive her, her death is irreversible without hacking the game.  While Final Fantasy VII has had plenty of spin-offs, the only one I can think of that made a point of Aerith’s death is the Advent Children film.  However, it still belongs on the list just for being the one thing that is always the first to come up in any discussion of the game.  It’s gotten to the point where most people don’t even recognize it as a spoiler and just assume it to be common knowledge.  How many news outlets do you think mused about the possibility of resurrecting Aerith while reporting on the recently announced remake?  Even the quirky competitive FPS Screencheat uses her name as one of its many analogies for killing an opponent.  That’s the thing with big surprises; everyone starts to either analyze or satirize it endlessly.

Snake_&_Raiden

6. Metal Gear Solid 2

The first thing that comes up with any conversation on Metal Gear Solid 2 is its infamous bait-and-switch that had regular protagonist Solid Snake built up as the lead in all demonstrations and marketing for the game, only to replace him with an entirely new character named Raiden.  Where the big twist of Final Fantasy VII is one of the most discussed topics of the game, the bait-and-switch of Raiden is the only thing that ever receives any attention when discussing MGS2 or even just the character of Raiden.  When Metal Gear Rising, a spin-0ff centered entirely around Raiden, was released years later, many were still so jaded by his appearance in MGS2 that they refused to give the spin-off a chance.  It’s actually pretty ironic given that Raiden was actually built from the ground up as a parody of the very fanboys that hate him, spending most of the game whining right alongside the bitter players for the ‘real’ Snake to get involved in the mission.  Typical Kojima.

Arthas

5. Warcraft III

Prince Arthas Menethil, the main hero of Warcraft III, is pretty much your typical Prince Charming when the game starts out.  That’s what makes it such a shock when he turns to the dark side and ultimately changes from being one of Azeroth’s most celebrated champions to one of its most repulsive monsters.  His descent begins when an undead curse begins to spread across the land, turning people into mindless ghouls.  Desperate to contain the curse, Arthas resorts to slaughtering an entire village that has been infected but has yet to fully turn.  It’s a brutal choice that immediately turns both his mentor and his beloved against him.  Eventually, his struggle against the forces of darkness leads him to not only embrace the undead curse himself, but to even become its leader as the infamous Lich King.  From there, Arthas quickly became Warcraft‘s most iconic villain with an entire expansion in World of Warcraft centering around his final downfall and being made a playable character in Heroes of the Storm.  If you haven’t been following Warcraft lore from the start, it’s likely too late to check out Warcraft III without already knowing who goes full Darth Vader in it.

MaskedLucina

4. Fire Emblem: Awakening

Here’s a tip: If you don’t want games spoiled for you, don’t even look at the Super Smash Bros games as you can find massive spoilers for other games just by looking at the character roster.  For example, there’s the identity of the masked swordsman going by the name Marth from Fire Emblem: Awakening.  This was built up as the big mystery for Awakening right from the game’s reveal and remained the focal point of its marketing all the way up to its release.  How could the legendary hero king from the very first Fire Emblem game, whose reign was generations ago, be appearing in this era?  Well, you could play the game yourself to discover the truth, or you could just take a glance at Super Smash Bros for Wii U and 3DS.  As it turns out, it’s not King Marth traveling from the past, but Prince Chrom’s daughter Lucina traveling from the future.  While having Lucina appearing on the roster may not immediately give away that she’s the Marth impersonator, her using the mask from the disguise as one of her taunts and Kirby wearing the same mask after stealing her ability certainly make it obvious.  At least they didn’t give away the time-travel part from tha… She mentions it in one of her victory quotes, doesn’t she?

Portal

3. Portal

Here’s one that’s become so ubiquitous that you’ve probably forgotten that it even is a plot twist: GLaDOS, the mastermind behind the first Portal game, is actually a psychotic computer out to kill you.  Today, that just seems as obvious as the fact that you use portals, but this was actually a massive surprise when the game first came out.  Remember that Portal was first released as a part of the Orange Box alongside the highly anticipated Half-Life 2: Episode 2 and Team Fortress 2 with little build-up for the tacked-on puzzle game.  People started it up thinking it was just some simple bonus that was thrown in with the big releases because it wouldn’t sell on its own.  Then it starts throwing around a dark sense of humor slowly enough for it to be cynically charming.  As you dig deeper, it becomes more and more apparent that this facility is not what it seems and that everything has been designed to tear you apart physically and mentally.  Finally, you meet with the mechanical mastermind to shut down her devious plans… And then GLaDOS became the most iconic character in the Portal franchise, being heavily promoted for the sequel, making cameos in Poker Night at the Inventory 2 and the film Pacific Rim, and generally made it impossible for anyone to enjoy the same mental trip that Portal once offered again.

OcarinaSheik

2. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Smash strikes again, but at least it’s not the only guilty party for this one.  The fact that the mysterious ninja warrior named Sheik is actually the missing Princess Zelda in disguise has been made abundantly clear in anything and everything to feature Sheik since.  First, Super Smash Bros Melee introduced both Zelda and Sheik as playable fighters with the unique ability to transform from one to the other during matches.  This was carried over into Brawl before being cut with the 3DS and Wii U entries making the two completely separate characters, but the damage had already been done by that point.  Even then, Hyrule Warriors came by to make sure nobody forgot the princess’s double-life by making it a plot point in its own campaign.  At this point, expecting anyone to be surprised at Sheik’s true identity is a joke in and of itself.

AlbertWeskerFMV

1. Resident Evil

Capcom really couldn’t try harder to make the single biggest plot twist from the original Resident Evil known to everyone, regardless of whether or not they’ve ever even touched it game or any games in the series.  One of the members of your team sent into the Spencer Mansion, Albert Wesker, is secretly a double-agent working to sabotage your operations from the inside.  It’s shocking to discover that, after all of the horrors you’ve struggled to survive against, one of your own is actually complicit in it all and working to cover it up.  Or, at least, it would be shocking if Wesker hadn’t been made into the main villain of the series and highly advertised his turn to the dark side in future titles.  Not only did he reappear as the antagonist in several RE games, such as a major selling point for Resident Evil 5 being the chance to finally take revenge on him, he’s also appeared in two of the live-action films and as a playable character in Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 and Lost Planet 2.  Each time he’s appeared, it’s been readily apparent that he’s the baddest bad guy that the entire RE series has to offer.  Honestly, it feels like he should have just been a low-level goon that died within the first game and have a new character take up the role of the mastermind if only to keep the surprise fresh for a lot more people late to the party.  If you haven’t already picked up Resident Evil with any of the half-dozen rereleases that the game has had over the years, you’re going to have to go in already knowing who the surprise villain is right from the start.

What spoilers are you sick of seeing everywhere?  Do you have any that should have been included on the list?  Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.

Heroes Of The Storm Event the Eternal Conflict Is Live

Heroes Of The Storm

Heroes Of The Storm

Heroes of the Storm, previously known as Blizzard All-Stars, gets a new in-game event kicked off titled the Eternal Conflict which is themed around Diablo. The event introduces  a new playable character and a new map called Battlefield of Eternity map. The new character is called the Butcher who is well-known in the Diablo universe. He won’t be the only new character this patch brings as in the near future The Skeleton King and the Monk.

The heavily Diablo-themed patch isn’t at all surprising since a recent press event at Blizzard HQ done by Heroes of the Storm game director Dustin Browder along with Alan Dabiri, technical director of the game detailed their plans on bringing this new Diablo content including characters, maps and skins to certain angels and villains.

“This is something the players have been asking for,” added Dabiri “Up until now, we’ve had all these different battlegrounds, but they haven’t been in our Blizzard universe. This is the first opportunity for players to see one of their favorite game worlds… and we’ll keep doing that.”

The map is inspired by Diablo III and is split into two lanes where each team fights to protect a giant NPC that its main objective is to destroy the enemy’s base which also has a giant NPC of their own. The map is split into parts, Heaven and Hell and the NPCs will fight each other in the center of the map which according to Alan is the peak of the gameplay session.

“There are a lot of different decisions you have to make,” Dabiri said. “Some of the other battlegrounds, they have map objectives that the goal is to bring you together and have a team fight. But for the most part there’s really just one pivot on it. When the Immortals spawn, you either try to DPS down the enemy’s immortal, or say, ‘Let’s defend our Immortal.’ Or ‘Let’s try to take out the enemy team.’ Or stay in lane, and push while everyone else is fighting. Each of them has a different advantage or disadvantage.”

Eternal Conflict Announced for Heroes of the Storm

Heroes of the Storm

With Blizzard’s crossover MOBA game, Heroes of the Storm, having recently launched, there has been a big push to get it into the public eye and the latest example is the announcement of the Eternal Conflict event.  Eternal Conflict will be a number of content updates for the game based around the Diablo franchise, including new maps and new heroes taken from the series.  One new map and character have been revealed so far, but much more has been hinted at for the event.  The first new hero to join the roster will be The Butcher, one of the most iconic boss fights from the first Diablo game and the first boss in Diablo III.  In Heroes of the Storm, The Butcher is a melee assassin based around high damage and lifesteal.  He can charge opponents down with Ruthless Onslaught, debuff them with Butcher’s Brand, and deal a massive blow with Hamstring.  His special trait, Fresh Meat, lets him collect blood droplets left behind by any defeated enemy and gradually increase his attack power.  He is certainly a major threat made to capture the sense of fear that he invoked in the Diablo games, but he is more fragile than he appears and his entire Fresh Meat buff will be wiped upon death.  Finally, his heroic abilities are Lamb to the Slaughter and Furnace, with the former chaining a single opponent to a spot for a short period and is good for snaring tanky or evasive characters.  Furnace is an AoE burst that takes some time to fire off but surrounds The Butcher with a powerful, 360 degree blast.

The next map to be added will be Battlefield of Eternity and it will capture the war between the High Heavens and the Burning Hells that features so prominently in the Diablo series.  This two-lane map will be aesthetically divided between heaven and hell with the two teams each taking a side in the conflict.  Every now and then, two Immortals will begin fighting in the center of the map and each team will need to work to ensure that the Immortal on their side wins the struggle.  There are four different spots that the Immortals can randomly appear at when they start fighting and, while they’re all in close proximity of each other, preemptive positioning for these events will be tricky.  The Immortals will also change their positions when one of them reaches half health.  Once one of the Immortals falls, the other will start pushing against the stronger lane of the enemy team.  Siege giants also work differently on this map, dealing large damage to a single target rather than the splash damage of giants on other maps.  Battlefield of Eternity and The Butcher are set to enter the nexus and kick off Eternal Conflict on June 30th.

Liking a Character Vs. Liking a Playstyle

Playstyle

There has always been plenty of excitement surrounding the inclusion of fan-favorites as playable characters in video games, be they popular figures in that series or guest characters making a special appearance, and it’s reaching its pinnacle these days.  Mortal Kombat X makes a major selling point out of the fact that film icons Jason Voorhees and the Predator will be DLC characters and there’s massive buzz surrounding the mere suggestion that comic book antihero Spawn may join them down the line.  Nintendo released an open ballot for requests on who should join the cast of Super Smash Bros with almost no restrictions and many people (myself included) jumped at the chance to offer their own picks.  Blizzard will be officially releasing their own MOBA title this June that uses characters and locations from their various existing games, such as Warcraft and Diablo.  One of the first things announced about Batman: Arkham Knight was that preordering would get you a DLC pack where you could play as popular villain Harley Quinn.   It makes sense to want to step into the shoes of your favorite character, but people rarely stop to consider the important question of how much they’ll actually enjoy using that character’s playstyle.

Often times, the enticement of having a character made playable in a game is based on that character’s backstory, personality, aesthetic design, or the simple novelty of it all.  Rarely is much consideration given to how they will actually play and if the people pulling for those characters will truly enjoy using them once given the chance.  Note that I said how they ‘will’ and not how they ‘might’ play as it’s easy to have a vague idea in your head, but the actually execution carried out by the developers can result in something drastically different.  You can’t know exactly how someone will handle until after they’ve been developed and you’ve had a chance to try him or her for yourself.  The only major exception is when fans pull for the return of a character that had previously appeared in the series and they already know that the character suits them well.  Otherwise, it’s a surprising gamble to request or purchase your favorite character based only on his or her appearances outside of that game.

Speaking from personal experience, I’ve always tried to make good use of Donkey Kong in the Smash games.  The Donkey Kong Country games made for some of my fondest childhood memories, so he was an easy choice to get my start with.  Unfortunately, there’s a good reason why DK always places so low on the tier lists.  I do know of one or two pro players that can main him, but I’ve never been able to really make him work for myself.  At least I wasn’t disappointed with Mega Man and Little Mac when they were finally added and I’ve had my fair share of fun with them.  However, I still find myself turning back to one certain character whenever it’s time to get serious.  That character is Mr. Game & Watch, someone I have absolutely no personal attachment to and initially shrugged off as a joke character.  The Game & Watch line of handhelds were before my time and I always thought that his 2D appearance was a one-note gimmick.  What makes him my fighter of choice is that his strong aerial mobility, quick key drop, devastating oil spill, and much more all come together for a character that fits my playstyle almost perfectly.

The greatest disparity I’ve ever had between a character and their playstyle came from Hyrule Warriors.  Many fans were disappointed to see that the massively popular Groose from The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword wasn’t going to be playable even as a DLC add-on, whereas the hated character from the same game, Fi, was included.  I was certainly among them.  I still haven’t even come close to finishing Skyward Sword and I rank Fi’s grating non-personality as one of the main reasons as to why.  I also thought the fact that she basically acted as her own weapon was ridiculous.  If you had given me the chance to cut one character from the playable roster of Hyrule Warriors before it was released, I wouldn’t have needed to think twice before saying Fi.  I’ll give you one guess as to who my most played character by a longshot is.  While I find Fi insufferably annoying as a character, I absolutely love her ability to corral enemies together while simultaneously cutting through them like a living lawnmower before scattering them with a powerful finisher.  I was ready to write her off completely beforehand, but discovered my perfect fit.

The fact of the matter is that you’ll only truly know how much you enjoy playing as a character once you’ve actually played as him or her.  This is why I think that the Premier Towers in Mortal Kombat X that give players a chance to test out DLC characters without having to buy them first is something that should be made standard in every game that releases from this point onward.  It’s why I hated Marvel Heroes as it offered no method of playtesting characters before unlocking them and expected players to purchase them based purely on recognition (note: I only played Marvel Heroes around its launch period in 2013 and I don’t know if this policy has changed at all since).  You can read up on characters until you know them inside-out and it can never compare to having some actual hands-on time with them.

Are there any characters that you initially liked for their personality, etc, but actually disliked playing as or vice versa?  Are there any characters you haven’t given a fair chance because of a bad first impression?  What are your thoughts on guest characters like those in MKX and crossover games like Smash?  Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.

Heroes of the Storm Beta Starts Soon, New Details Here!

When Blizzard is preparing to launch a MOBA game, people will be extremely interested to see the end results and the same goes for Heroes of the Storm. The exciting news is that the launch of the game is getting closer and closer, as the studio has announced that the Heroes of the Storm closed beta stage is about to start soon. Really soon, actually: on January 14th, but only some lucky few will get the chance to experience the game.

For the rest of us, fortunately, Blizzard has a brand new video showing all the new additions to the game and changes made following the Alpha stage that ended in 2014. Check out the video below and we’ll talk about it once you’re done watching!

As you can see, most of the playable characters have been changed, tweaked and improved, we have Thrall in the game now as a playable character as well as the new desert themed Sky Temple map. There’s also a full tutorial that might be needed for when the game hits the stores.

All in all, I think we can easily say that Heroes of the Storm is shaping up into a really exciting game and Blizzard has all the reasons to be proud of their upcoming MOBA. Those of us who don’t have access to the closed beta can only hope that everything goes as planned and the title will be launched as soon as possible. This clearly looks like something the whole world needs to experience!